The Hunter’s Promise: An Abenaki Tale
Available now at your local bookseller or your favorite online book retailer.

The Hunter’s Promise: An Abenaki Tale

  • retold by: Joseph Bruchac

  • illustrated by: Bill Farnsworth

  • Juvenile Fiction / Native American (early reader 4-8)






Date Available:

Available now


4 and up

Grade Level:



Lexile Measure: 710L


8″ x 10″

Page Count:


Share On Social Media
Media Kit
pdf logo icon

“Promise to remember me” was all the beautiful woman had ever said to the hunter. She had appeared from nowhere one day, when he had been lonely during the long winter hunting trip. Isolated in the vast wilderness of the northeast, he would only return to his village in the spring. However, it was his destiny that this year he would not be alone, because she had appeared.

The hunter had quickly fallen in love with the mysterious woman, and together they had become their own little family. But when spring arrived and it was time to return to the village, she disappeared just as suddenly as she had arrived. Would he ever see his love again? The hunter didn’t know, but he was sure he would keep his promise and never forget her. That is, until one day when the daughter of the village chief cast a spell on him!

World-renowned storyteller Joseph Bruchac retells this traditional story of love, loyalty, trust, and magic, which can be found in various forms among many of the indigenous nations of the northeast, both Iroquoian and Algonquin. Join him and award-winning illustrator Bill Farnsworth, as they recount this ancient and unique Abenaki tale of keeping a promise to one’s family and of the proper relationship of humans to the natural world.


  • Finalist in the 2015 Foreword Reviews INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards, in the “Picture Books, Early Reader” category
  • Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award


  • “Gr 2–5— [The Hunter’s Promise is] a solid retelling of a traditional Wabanaki Confederacy story . . . Farnsworth’s oil paintings add depth to this story. The feelings portrayed through the images allows readers to understand the emotions of the characters. Bruchac reinforces the importance of balance in the land, and integrity of the keeping one’s word. VERDICT: A great addition for traditional tale collections. Recommended.”

    – School Library Journal

    , from a review by Amy Zembroski, Indian Community School, Franklin, WI

  • “The prolific, accomplished Bruchac reaches back to his Abenaki heritage to retell the traditional story of a young man who forges an unusual bond while spending the long winter months at his hunting camp . . . Younger readers may be puzzled by the story, but the understated telling, falling well within the boundaries of folk-tale conventions, proves intriguing, while Farnsworth’s softly glowing oil paintings capture the tale’s mystical feel. A solid author’s note offers further background.”

    – American Library Association’s Booklist Magazine

  • “In a retelling of a story shared by several Northeast indigenous peoples, as Bruchac explains in an introductory note, a lonely Abenaki hunter gains a mysterious ‘winter wife’ who cares for him during his hunting expeditions away from his village. As the hunter prepares to return to his village, the woman asks him to ‘remember’ her (readers may wonder why he doesn’t attempt to bring her back with him). Remember her the man does, season after season, as well as the child she bears, until the village chief’s daughter enlists the help of a poohegan (spirit helper) to cloud his mind so he can marry her. Farnsworth’s handsome paintings depict a lush, light-infused wilderness, putting as much emphasis on the pristine setting as on the characters. The satisfying yet melancholy ending leaves a haunting impression.”

    – Publishers Weekly

  • “An Abenaki retelling of a traditional story of various indigenous nations of the Northeast that centers on loyalty and humans’ relation to nature. . . . Through his scenic paintings, Farnsworth evokes the light, seasons, and life in the forested mountains of the Northeast, supporting Bruchac’s words and achieving a striking visual depiction of the environment of Abenaki peoples. The narrative itself is elliptical, offering literal readers a story of loyalty but founding it on a subtle exploration of the spirit world and its relation to ours. Bruchac and Farnsworth honor the Indians of the Northeast, the written versions of the tale, and the elders and Wabanaki tellers who keep this story alive. (Picture book/folk tale. 6-8)”

    – Kirkus Reviews

  • “The Hunter’s Promise is not just a story of trust and betrayal, the clouding of commitment by enchantment. It is also a reminder of the sacred obligation of hunters and all beings to honor the gifts of animals and plants to sustain life. If this balance and sacred trust between hunter and natural creation is forgotten, or dishonored, the whole world is disordered and broken. The Hunter’s Promise is stunningly illustrated . . . by a famous, multiple award-winning illustrator, Bill Farnsworth. The Hunter’s Promise is a beautifully told wisdom tale appropriate for children age 6 and up.”

    – Children’s Bookwatch

    , a publication of the Midwest Book Review

Show More

Sample Page Spreads from This Book

Click on the image below to see a larger image and a caption for this and any additional page spreads.